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  1. #1
    dd
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    Cyfac: dealer looking for input and feedback

    Hi all,

    I recently became a Cyfac dealer and I'm looking, openly, for input and first hand feedback from those who have purchased and/or ridden a Cyfac frame. I am a small dealer who deals primarily in custom bikes but can, of course, sell stock geometry bikes depending on a client's needs and budget. After speaking at length with Eric Sakalowsky, the owner of Cyfac, we were both very enthusiastic about working together.

    From the people I have talked to (both riders and industry insiders) and all the reports I have read indicate that Cyfac is among the most respected frame builders in the cycling industry. However, I always like to get the impressions of those who have gone through the buying experience of a custom bike, as it is unlike buying an off the shelf model in almost every way. Also, ride impressions are valuable, though they tend to be rather subjective. I still like to read them because cycling is a very personal experience and I like to gauge a person's emotional response to their bike.

    Thanks in advance for any responses to this thread. This is a pretty strong online community on this website. Hats off.

    Mark Stemmy
    Optimized Cycling Solutions
    3113 Alhambra Dr, Ste D
    Cameron Park, CA 95682
    (530)363-2697
    optimizedcycling@hotmail.com
    http://www.facebook.com/OptimizedCyclingSolutions
    Twitter: @OptimizedCycle
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Cyfac: dealer looking for input and feedback-absolu-2.jpg  
    Last edited by tallrider721; 07-07-2012 at 04:02 PM.

  2. #2
    Old, slow, and fat.
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    I've moved back to NoVA. PLEASE change the weather!

  3. #3
    classiquesklassieker
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    These days I ride only Cyfac because I like that each is unique, is backed up by great customer service, and I don't care much for newfangled features that seem to die out after just a year or two.

    If I have to summarize, Cyfac makes "that one bike" each time. Where else could I have ordered a custom steel with names of the classics races and climbs on it, with clearance for CX tires, but rides like a road bike on smooth roads?

    One aspect that I think you guys should explain better is "the customer difference". Meaning, how tweaks can make big differences. Longer wheelbase, ever slightly steeper STA or HTA, more Kevlar around downtube.

    The idea of customization is unfortunately becoming less appreciated and understood by most people. Cyfac with commitment to custom should take a step to provide illustrative examples. Each time I speak to Eric I learn new things about the why and how of customization. If only there was a way to present some of these gems not necessarily systematically but as canonical examples.

  4. #4
    dd
    Reputation: tallrider721's Avatar
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    orange_julius,

    This is exactly what I was looking for. Thank you.

    I agree that they need to do a better job of illustrating to potential customers how unique the process is of creating a custom bike for someone. Sometimes companies are reluctant to "toot their own horn", but as a dealer I have no such inhibition. I provide a very interactive experience for my clients and this is one of the reasons that Eric and I feel like this is such a good fit, OCS (my shop) and Cyfac.

    I am in a transition right now between frame suppliers and it is very exciting. Working with a brand like Cyfac is going to make it much easier on me to exceed my client's expectations, which is always my goal.

    I will soon have some testimonials from clients on my website that illustrate this approach to frame design, as you are right that sometimes just making small tweeks to a rider's frame geometry can make all the difference in the world. And when you are getting a custom frame anyway, why not make sure every details is right. I spend an enormous amount of time with my clients to finalize every aspect of their frame design, and this is well aligned with a factory like Cyfac. They have established their reputation by building frames for a very demanding clientele: pro racers and ultra high end sport riders. In my research so far I have encountered almost no negative feedback on the Cyfac brand, and this is pretty rare in this day and age. That includes anecdotal information from industry insiders.

    By the way, I like your blog. And your impressive stable of Cyfac bicycles! I am thinking about ordering a Gothica for a sample bike. Your thoughts?

    Thanks again for your inputs.

    Mark

  5. #5
    Defender of Freedom...
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    What happened to Sarto? Did they not meet expectations?
    It never gets easier. You just go faster. Greg LeMond

  6. #6
    dd
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    Hi Ramjm,

    There was a mutual split between myself and the importer. I still have a positive relationship with the Sarto factory and Enrico Sarto himself, but I am no longer a dealer for the Sarto brand in the U.S. However, there are several brands in Italy that use Sarto built frames and I am now a dealer for the Francesco Moser Collection from Red Rose Imports. In fact I just completed the frame design (fit and geometry) for a Moser 999 frame that will be built for one of my existing clients.

    I will probably post something on the main board about becoming a Moser dealer. I'm actually very excited about partnering with Red Rose Imports. The top of the line Pantani is also built by Sarto and available in custom sizing. I'm very happy to be working with an importer that is proactive and professional. Between Cyfac and Red Rose Imports I will be in a good position to exceed my clients expectations.

    Mark

  7. #7
    classiquesklassieker
    Reputation: orange_julius's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tallrider721 View Post
    orange_julius,

    This is exactly what I was looking for. Thank you.

    I agree that they need to do a better job of illustrating to potential customers how unique the process is of creating a custom bike for someone. Sometimes companies are reluctant to "toot their own horn", but as a dealer I have no such inhibition. I provide a very interactive experience for my clients and this is one of the reasons that Eric and I feel like this is such a good fit, OCS (my shop) and Cyfac.

    I am in a transition right now between frame suppliers and it is very exciting. Working with a brand like Cyfac is going to make it much easier on me to exceed my client's expectations, which is always my goal.

    I will soon have some testimonials from clients on my website that illustrate this approach to frame design, as you are right that sometimes just making small tweeks to a rider's frame geometry can make all the difference in the world. And when you are getting a custom frame anyway, why not make sure every details is right. I spend an enormous amount of time with my clients to finalize every aspect of their frame design, and this is well aligned with a factory like Cyfac. They have established their reputation by building frames for a very demanding clientele: pro racers and ultra high end sport riders. In my research so far I have encountered almost no negative feedback on the Cyfac brand, and this is pretty rare in this day and age. That includes anecdotal information from industry insiders.

    By the way, I like your blog. And your impressive stable of Cyfac bicycles! I am thinking about ordering a Gothica for a sample bike. Your thoughts?

    Thanks again for your inputs.

    Mark
    Hi Mark, that's a good idea to collect up customer testimonials etc. I think this is one important distinguishing factor between Cyfac and other manufacturers.

    Also, it may be good to remind the customer of what "custom" really means, and how far Cyfac takes this meaning. Each frame is a prototype, instead of a replica. This has a big impact on both R&D and production. Big names produce many prototypes that are discarded, before they settle on a specific design that is replicated 1,000x and then subjected to QC such that some percentage are discarded. If I understand correctly this is completely the opposite of Cyfac's approach where each frame is respected and cared for. If anything else, each frame is really expensive to make, so they don't want to throw any one away!

    So, how about offering a service where nice photos of frames are taken at different stages of production, and then given to the customer upon delivery? That will be awesome, that way owner can take even greater pride in their bikes.

    About the Gothica, I have the older lugged version (I think from around 2006). It is a really nice frame with comfort, and enough reactivity when I want it. I remember when I first built it up, I hopped on it and immediately felt "at home" on the bike. Took my hands off the bar and it was sure-footed. Unfortunately, and this is specific to this frame, the tire clearance is a bit tight. Not that it matters much since I don't switch wheels often, and I know many newer frames are much worse.

    Hope this helps.

  8. #8
    dd
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    Julius,

    Yes, of course it helps. Though to be honest, this is the type of response I get when talking to pretty much anyone who has first hand experience with Cyfac. I agree that photos of the buying experience along with client feedback and testimonials. The Sarto I am still riding is my first experience with a custom bike built just for me, and at 6'4" I can tell you that it was a revelation. It doesn't matter what material the frame is made of, a custom bike is a different kind of riding experience. And being so involved with the creative process is a very powerful thing.

    I would be interested in sharing photos and perhaps doing a blog on you since you are such an vested client of the Cyfac shop. It is a validation of their stellar focus on complete customer satisfaction.

    Thanks again for your input. One of the most rewarding things about working in this industry is working with folks like yourself that share such a passion for bicycles.

    Mark

    optimizedcycling@hotmail.com

  9. #9
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    I'm a dealer and I have a Vintage Rando (plus a Proxidium Carbon that I bought used and haven't ridden yet). My Cyfac is easily the most comfortable bike I've ever ridden.

    One of the things I talked to Eric about was creating posters with pictures of each builder and a short little bio. That way people would feel that they "knew" the person who built their bike. I know they've been busy with the team this year, so I don't know what the decision was on that, or if one has been made.
    Other countries need to stop hatin' or we'll unfriend them. - Christine

    Apparently I left my reading comprehension glasses in my ass. - DrRoebuck

    Still, it felt great and I felt like I was sitting on some kind of vibrator -Touch0Gray

  10. #10
    dd
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    PlatyPius,

    That's a good idea. This type of connection to the creative process is fantastic and also a demonstration that these frames are not just another commoditized product out of Asia, as if it were a toaster. Apprenticeship is part of the business model with a frame builder like Cyfac. Many of their employees have been working at the factory for 30 years. It is a small enterprise and their processes are very controlled as a result. I am going to be posting some photos of the factory on my Facebook page. Its nice to be able to do so. This is not something you will see with Specialized, Trek, etc.

    Thanks,

    Mark

  11. #11
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    Randomly, I recently ordered two custom steel frames, one from Pegoretti and the other from Eric Estlund at Winter Bicycles. While not Cyfac, what I've experienced may be of interest to you.

    First is Dario. His style is to hear what you want to do, then he will recommend you the frame and make the measurements. Then there is Eric. His style is to engage in a long conversation about who you are, what you want to do with the bike, what designs you like... there is no particular frame he recommends because every frame he makes is unique.

    So what I am really buying is a Pegoretti, and a bike I want to have made by Eric. Neither is necessarily the right way, and I'm looking forward to both frames equally. Dario can be more bold about what the customer should have because of his knowledge, while Eric prefers to make each frame unique and exactly what the customer wants. The key is how they are positioned and communicated to the customer.

    I'm not that aware of Cyfac, but if they can make truly unique frames then this is something you should communicate. Orange Julius' advice about "the customer difference" is right in this; you should tell people they never truly buy a Cyfac, they buy their perfect bike, that's made by Cyfac.

    Hope that makes some sense!

  12. #12
    dd
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    Gordy,

    Make plenty of sense. I try to do the same thing with my clients and this is why I went with Cyfac. They build every bike as an individual project. There is a lot of interaction between the rider and the factory, with myself as the conduit. I spend a lot of time with my clients, asking questions and gettting to know them as a rider.

    I am curious as to what your impressions will be of both bikes. Please do keep us updated. What a unique opportunity.

    Thanks!!

    Mark

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